Entry By Jason Brick
If you're like most business owners, you're faced with a three-point problem.
- You need to allocate as much of your time as possible on the activities that help grow your business.
- You spend too much of your time working on menial tasks.
- Training another employee to do these menial tasks would take too long.
Unless something changes, 1 plus 2 plus 3 equals long hours and slow progress. What you need is more time in each day. To get there, consider one or more of these simple small business time savers.
1. Take 10 Minutes to Plan Every Evening
Ten minutes of planning can mean more than an hour of extra productivity over the course of a day. This is one of the simplest and most rewarding time investments you can make. Better still, by planning in the evening, you put your worries in order to you can focus on "you time" and your family after hours.
2. Check Email and Voicemail Only Occasionally
Many -- probably most -- business owners check messages like they'll disappear if they’re not picked up in the first five minutes. A spare moment means opening the browser or picking up the handset -- followed by losing 20 minutes or more answering whatever they find. Nearly all of those messages won't be hurt by waiting a few hours. Schedule time to check messages, and save other times for other tasks.
3. Close Your Door
Interruptions are a constant in a business owner's life, and it can take as much as 30 minutes to return to productivity after each one. When you're "on mission," don't be afraid to close your door. Your employees will open it in true emergencies, but figure out the little things for themselves.
4. Automate Bills
Paying bills can take several hours each business month, but free banking tools can get handle them automatically while simultaneously reducing your postage and stationery costs. Automatic bill pay also improves your company's credit, allowing you access to new resources.
5. Get Enough Sleep
Working sleep-deprived makes everything take longer, even if your groggy mind doesn't make mistakes. Seven to nine hours of sleep is simply better for your business than trying to "power through" on less.
6. Exercise in the Morning
Exercise at any time of day improves your productivity by increasing your energy, awareness and focus. Scheduling exercise time in the morning means you'll actually get a chance to do it. By afternoon or evening, it's easy for unplanned emergencies to force you to cancel your gym time. If you exercise first thing, the rest of the day doesn't have a chance to interfere.
7. Delegate Adventurously
It's likely that at least half of your people are able to perform at least half of your tasks. The trick is to trust them to do it well, and trust yourself not to go nuts while they learn. Take the risk of letting your best people take on more responsibility. The rewards greatly outweigh the risks.
Beyond just delegating around the office, you can also take the next step and begin outsourcing some of the work you’ve been shouldering. If you’re president, CEO and marketing manager, it’s time to look into bringing on a partner to take some of the burden. Though we hate to admit it, if you’re handling 10 different job titles, you’re probably not suited to all of them. Let people who know what they’re doing take over, and you’ll likely see higher-quality materials come out of the office. If you can’t bring in other people, look for time saving tools like email, social and text message marketing services.